• M&A Leisure deal flow bulletin

    September and October 2019 edition


M&A Leisure deal flow bulletin - September and October 2019 edition

28 November 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of our bulletin – the BDO M&A Leisure team's overview of the latest M&A activity in the leisure space in the UK.


BDO released the second edition of The Travel Diaries, an annual report produced by BDO’s Travel team. In each edition, we cover:

  • Key trends and opportunities in the sector with interesting guest contributions
  • Mergers and acquisitions during the year
  • The UK’s only league of the fastest growing outbound and domestic travel companies

This year’s guest contributors include Ian Coyle - CEO of HolidayTaxis Group, Liam McGuinness - Partner at CIL Consultants and Chris Photi - Head of Travel at White Hart Associates.

  • Endless LLP exited its investment in Amber Road Travel, a UK-based travel company to Gray Dawes Group, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition by Gray Dawes reinforces the Group’s presence in the North West of the country.
  • Waterloo Hub Hotel, the UK-based holding company acquired Days Inn, the UK-based hotel in Waterloo, from Wyndham Hotels & Resorts., the listed US-based hotel franchise company, for an undisclosed consideration.
  • In October 2019, Vitruvian Partners acquired a majority stake in Sykes Holiday Cottages, the UK-based holiday home provider with c.17,500 properties, for £375m. The exiting investor, Livingbridge, had acquired Sykes in January 2015 for £54m when the company generated £17m revenue from the 5,000 properties.
  • Hays Travel, the UK-based travel company, acquired 555 high street stores from collapsed tour operator Thomas Cook, for £6m. The acquisition equated to a consideration of only £10,800 per store…
  • Naxicap Partners acquired Siblu Villages, a French owner and operator of holiday parks, from Stirling Square Capital Partners for £354m. The sale was the first exit for Stirling’s third fund, which raised €660m in 2016, and is understood to have generated a 3.0x return.
  • It is understood that Brookfield is considering a sale or IPO for resorts chain Center Parcs for c. £3bn.

Restaurants and Bars

  • In September, Gresham House acquired an undisclosed stake in UK-based wine bar and restaurant operator, Vinoteca. The investment provided Vinoteca with growth capital to fund new site openings in prestige developments across the UK.
  • In the same month, Ballie Ballerson, an Imbiba backed ball pit cocktail bar proposition, announced they are continuing their expansion with a new site in Soho whilst also refurbishing the original Shoreditch site.

Pubs and Brewers

  • In October, CK Bidco, a subsidiary of Hong Kong based property developer CK Asset Holdings, completed its £2.7bn acquisition of Greene King Plc; valuing Greene King at £4.6bn. The acquisition of the UK-based brewer and pub operator saw Greene King’s shares be cancelled on the London Stock Exchange as the company was taken private.
  • Admiral Taverns completed its acquisition of 150 tenanted community pubs from Heineken N.V. for an undisclosed consideration. The acquisition was supported by investors Proprium Capital Partners and C&C Group, and will see Admiral’s pub portfolio increase to 950 sites across the UK.
  • On 23rd October 2019, Fuller, Smith & Turner, the listed UK-based brewer and pub operator, agreed to acquire Cotswold Inns and Hotels for a total consideration of £42m. In the financial year ending 30 September 2018, Cotswolds Inns operated nine freehold country inns and hotels, eight freehold staff cottages and two leasehold bars in Birmingham.
  • Marston’s, which operates >1,500 managed, franchised and leased pubs across the UK, is understood to be looking to sell c.150 pubs as part of its ongoing initiative to reduce its net debt position. Fortress Investment Group, who acquired Majestic Wines in August, are understood to be interested in acquiring the 150 pubs. The disposal, estimated to be worth c.£45m, forms part of Marston’s £90m non-core assets that the company had announced it would look to sell over the coming years.

Alternative Leisure

  • In September, Warner Bros. Studios acquired Platform 9 3/4 Kings Cross Ltd, the UK-based retailer of Harry Potter merchandise and film museum, from private investors Jonathan Sands, Paul Mendoza and Eric Senat for an undisclosed amount.
  • Risk Capital Partners acquired All Star Lanes, marking the PE House’s return to the market after the administration of Patisserie Valerie.
  • In October, Inflexion agreed to acquire the assets of Goals Soccer Centres, the UK’s leading operator of 5-a-side and 7-a-side flood lit football pitches, for £27m.

Please contact one of the M&A Leisure team if you would like to discuss any of the topics raised in more detail.

About BDO

To view our recent M&A Leisure sector credentials, client testimonials and team contacts download our M&A Leisure Credentials brochure. To view our complete Corporate Finance experience in the Leisure sector, explore our latest deals.

Our team works with a range of ambitious public, owner managed and private equity backed businesses across a wide range of leisure sub-sectors including pubs, restaurants and bars, travel and alternative leisure. Our specialists combine deep industry knowledge and technical experience to support businesses' growth journeys domestically and internationally, bringing together entrepreneurial passion and institutional rigour. 

Our team of sector specialists is integrated across accounting, audit, tax, other advisory and Corporate Finance, which means we are able to help our clients in many complementary areas throughout the transactions.

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